Neuropsychological evaluations consist of taking a series of tests which examine the patient’s ability to pay attention, learn, remember, reason, problem solve and use language. The results of these tests will be used to help the psychologist:
- Diagnose cognitive impairment such as mild cognitive impairment, post-concussion syndrome and dementia
- Determine if one has ADD or ADHD
- Recommend effective strategies in order to improve a person’s thinking, memory and behavior
A neuropsychological evaluation is a three-step process. First, the psychologist interviews the patient about their symptoms. The second session involves the person being given different types of tests to help the psychologist identify potential memory, thinking and/or psychological disorders. During the third session, the psychologist reviews the patients’ test results and provides recommendations to help improve the patient’s thinking, memory and behavior.
When Should Someone Get a Neuropsychological Evaluation?
If someone is experiencing a change in thinking (e.g. attention, memory, reasoning ability, problem solving or language difficulties) or personality, then neuropsychological testing may be useful in assisting in the diagnosis of a cognitive disorder.
An neuropsychological evaluation is often used for patients who have:
- Sustained a head injury, such as a concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Been exposed to toxins
- A medical diagnosis, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Stroke, Parkinson’s disease or cardiovascular disease
- Signs of dementia
Neuropsychological evaluations help us answer many difficult questions, including if your thinking problems are significant enough to be diagnosed with a cognitive disorder, whether someone can live independently and if you can return to work, school or play in sports. Symptoms of a cognitive disorder can include:
- Attention difficulties
- Memory loss or forgetfulness
- Difficulty coming up with words or names of objects
- Slowed thinking
- Reasoning and judgment difficulties
- Difficulty with organizing and planning
- Impaired problem solving
- Mood swings
- Sudden outbursts